© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Crusaders prepare to face the Force this weekend

Rachel Das

Crusaders's coach says the Force are fighting for more than just points - they're representing their families and people.

Crowds will witness what has traditionally been a very close match this Friday, as the Crusaders face Western Australia's force.

Crusader's Head Coach Scott Robertson has announced his first fifteen squad, with seven changes and a positional change to last weekend's winning fifteen verse the Blues.

The Crusaders have won four out of their last four matches and are sitting in fifth position on the table.

Robertson said the team had been working hard in preparation to face the Force.

"Teams that come off the bye traditionally have a little bit more variation in their game and their play so we're ready to expect anything."

"They're a tough side. They showed with their results just how close they've been." Robertson said.

"They're fighting for a lot more than points. There's all that stuff going on in Aussie at the moment and they want to represent their groups, their families, their people. We're expecting everything from them."

In half the games played between the teams, there had been five points or less separating them.

"They're a team that fight for everything. The way they structure their kicking game puts us under pressure, so we've done a lot of work around that." Robertson said.

Regarding his team, Robertson had said they are looking forward to getting out in front of the crowd this weekend.

Mitchell Dunshea will be debuting after being on the squad for two years.

"Mitch gets a chance to wear the Crusader jersey. We get to have Mitch on the bench. He deserves it, he's in great nick, he's a good athlete and he's tough". Robertson said.

Both Digby Loane and Matt Todd had returned after injury.

"Digger's little finger's good. He's got a little bandage on it. He's recovered really quickly - it's good to have a couple of experienced players back." Robertson commented.

Robertson said Scott Barrett had moved from lock to loose forward, "He's been training at 6 for a number of weeks now to give us some depth in our squad that area. He's a great athlete, he's really clear in his role and gives us some other line out options."

The Crusaders will play the Force at 7.35pm this Friday in AMI Stadium.


BNZ Crusaders team to play the Force:

1. Wyatt Crockett
2. Codie Taylor
3. Owen Franks
4. Luke Romano
5. Sam Whitelock (C)
6. Scott Barrett
7. Matt Todd (VC)
8. Jordan Taufua
9. Mitchell Drummond
10. Mitchell Hunt
11. George Bridge
12. Ryan Crotty (VC)
13. Tim Bateman
14. Digby Ioane
15. David Havili

16. Ben Funnell
17. Tim Perry
18. Michael Alaalatoa
19. Mitchell Dunshea
20. Pete Samu
21. Bryn Hall
22. Marty McKenzie
23. Manasa Mataele